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Gwealan Tops
Gwealan Tops
The Stuart Lester Fund

The Stuart Lester Fund

Why we need your help

Dr Stuart Lester died suddenly and unexpectedly on 11 May 2017 while visiting Cornwall to work with Gwealan Tops Adventure Playground as part of a project he was working on.

Stuart’s contribution to the play and playwork sector nationally and internationally is both unique and significant. He worked for many years on adventure playgrounds in the north west of England and then went into education and training, working most recently as Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire. He has been an inspiration to many, in his quiet, playful, subversive and life-changing way. Those who knew him talk of his mischievous streak, his sparkle, and also of his huge generosity of spirit. Many have spoken of his playfulness as well as his intellect, of his gentleness as well as his capacity to challenge our habitual ways of being in the world. He was indeed a quiet revolutionary, working as an advocate for children’s play both in academic and grass roots circles with organisations as diverse as local playwork and community organisations, the International Play Association (IPA), local and national governments, museums, zoos and heritage sites. You can learn more about his work and read our tribute to him here (

Many in the field have said that there should be some lasting legacy for Stuart’s work, and so Gwealan Tops and the University of Gloucestershire play and playwork team are working with Stuart’s family to set up a fund in his memory. The fund will award a small, annual grant to support enquiry into children's play and adult response-ability regarding the conditions that support playfulness to emerge. This was a key aspect of Stuart's work, which he saw as a collective and political issue of spatial justice.

Stuart’s funeral will be on 31 May (visit for details). The family have asked for no flowers, and donations can be made here to the Stuart Lester Fund. There is also the option to set up a monthly or yearly direct debit that will continue to support enquiry into children’s play in ways that honour Stuart’s memory.


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